Are We Sexually-Attracted to Voices?

When we are looking for a partner, whether for sexual or emotional attachment, we look for the many ways in which they can be appealing to us. Sometimes, it’s those cheeky locks of hair over a woman’s shoulders. Sometimes it’s the intensity in a man’s gaze. Others, it could be a matter of body shape; but what if we took into account how a person sounds as well?

It is no secret that women prefer men with deep voices, whilst men prefer women with high, youthful tones, but a paper published by PLOS ONE has taken it one step further.

According to a research group led by Yi Xu, the preference is due to body size.

Amongst a group of 32 participants, female voices with a high pitch were thought to have smaller body sizes, which in turn, was deemed attractive by male listeners.

Contrary to that, the sounds of a deep, throaty male voice suggested that the man had a large frame, considered more attractive when the voice had a certain “breathiness” to it, suggesting a reduced amount of aggression.

The research was done by manipulating computer-generated voices. Participants were asked to listen to a variety of phrases spoken. Each time, the voice pitch, rise-and-low frequencies and other traits were edited so that participants could pick a preference.

The men preferred the high-pitch, which suggested a smaller female – to a point. Any higher and the voice was deemed unattractive.

Similarly, female participants were given the same test, but this time, the male voice was given the trait of supposed “breathiness”, which apparently took the edge off a male voice. It kept the suggested nature of a man with a large frame, but took away the aggression that seemed to be in-tow. Additionally, male voices with “breathiness” sounded happier.

Whether or not the findings are substantial, it all points towards the idea of ideal figures to pass along one’s genes. The primal instinct to reproduce is an intriguing one, as is the capacity to attract the sexes.

Of course, life is getting more complicated, with primal urges taking a back seat to let emotions, enjoyment and dating swing into high tide.

Rather fun, in hindsight.

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